The 2003 Baltic American Freedom League annual membership meeting was held at the Latvian Community Center in Los Angeles on February 8, 2003.
In opening the meeting, the League’s President Valdis Pavlovskis submitted a written annual report in which he noted that the past year presented great challenges, opportunities and unprecedented victories for the Baltic nations and the Baltic American community. He congratulated the members and the Board of Directors for meeting many challenges and in fulfilling their duties, and thanked them for their on going loyalty and support of the organization.
In outlining BAFL accomplishments during the past year, Pavlovskis stated that Baltic membership in NATO “was and still is the corner stone of BAFL’s goals and activities.” He noted that the approval of the NATO enlargement treaty is a political process that the Baltic American community can influence; and he exhorted the members to continue working to maintain U.S. support of Baltic membership in NATO.
Other activities mentioned by Pavlovskis was the League’s support of the Freedom Consolidation Act, Congressional Resolutions HCR 116 and 468 in support of Baltic membership in NATO, U.S. financial assistance to the Baltic nations, efforts to increase membership in the House and Senate Baltic Caucuses and support for continuing Radio Free Europe. He also discussed the League’s activities in Washington and meetings held with government officials, members of Congress and their staffs. He noted that during the past year, trips made to Washington by Board members were made at their own expense.
Also covered by the President was the need for increased membership and financial support for the organization. “The inescapable fact of political life is that it takes money to inform congress and the public.”
The members also adopted a resolution supporting the U.S. efforts in disarming Iraq of weapons of mass destruction weapons, a resolution calling on the Administration and Congress to ratify the NATO enlargement treaty and a resolution asking for restoration of funding for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Copies of the resolutions are to be forwarded to the Administration and the Congress.
As to BAFL’s projects for next year, the members unanimously agreed that BAFL should not be distracted and spend its resources on peripheral issues and that Baltic membership in NATO remains its top priority and the focus of its activities. This will be accomplished through providing the Administration and Congress with positive information on the Baltic countries, by emphasizing the importance of Baltic membership to U.S. and NATO interests, and by strengthening the House and the Senate Baltic Caucuses while working with other Baltic and Eastern European organizations. A number of informational activities for Congress are being planned in Washington.
The members unanimously elected Valdis Pavlovskis as President of BAFL, Angela Nelsas as Executive Vice President, Vija Turjanis as Vice President, Heino Nurmberg as Vice President/Treasurer, Liuda Avizonis as Vice President and Nemyra Enck as Secretary. Other members elected to the Board of Directors were Alnis Briedis, Aivars Jerumanis, Dr. Hendrik Leesment, Teodors Liliensteins, Ivars Miculis and Maryte Sepikas.